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By Toby Seddon

'A historical past of substances' info the historical past of the connection among medicinal drugs and freedom during the last 2 hundred years; therefore hectic and unravelling the 'naturalness' of the 'drug question', because it strains the a number of and heterogeneous strains of improvement out of which it's been assembled. creation : medications, freedom and liberalism -- A conceptual map : freedom, the "will" and habit -- Opium, rules and classical liberalism : the drugstore act 1868 -- medicinal drugs, prohibition and welfarism : the damaging medicinal drugs act 1920 -- medicines, threat and neo-liberalism : the medicine act 2005 -- medications as a law and governance challenge -- Conclusions : medications and freedom within the liberal age

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As Valverde (1998: 14–15) observes (see also Levine, 1978), he uses the example of habitual drunkenness in a number of places in order to develop his argument about the relationship between ‘will’ and ‘desire’: A drunkard who continues in his drunkenness, being under the power of a love, and violent appetite to strong drink and without any love to virtue; but being also extremely covetous and close, and very much exercised and grieved at the diminution of his estate, and prospect of poverty, may in a sort desire the virtue of temperance; and though his present will is to gratify his extravagant appetite, yet he may wish he had a heart to forbear future acts of intemperance … but still he goes on with his drunkenness; such a man has no proper, direct, sincere willingness to forsake this vice … for he acts voluntarily in continuing to drink to excess.

Again, the conception of addiction and the conception of freedom are bound up together. We can see then the importance and relevance of the series across all three ‘phases’ of liberalism. But although I agree with O’Malley (2004: 155) that there is a significant and distinctive connection between the birth of liberalism and the emergence of modern conceptions of addiction, and indeed that is the central premise and focus of this book, I also think that some aspects of this freedom–will–addiction series have even deeper historical roots.

Indeed, the relationship between doctors and the state was substantially refigured during this period (Brand, 1965; Osborne, 1993). It was not just opium that was of concern either – anxieties about arsenic poisoning, for example, led to the Arsenic Act of 1851 (Bartrip, 1992) – but opium was the most common drug involved in poisoning deaths, both accidental and suicidal, throughout this period. During the 1860s, for instance, opiates accounted for around one third of all deaths by poisoning (Berridge and Edwards, 1981: 79).

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